A key component to offering the right employee benefits plan is developing and maintaining a relationship with an advisor. It is the role of these professionals to find the right insurance carrier to provide the right coverage that will work within your overall group benefits strategy.
An advisor can also help by making you aware of legislative changes and how they may impact the benefits plan, new technology that would benefit the you, your business and your employees as well as new products, services and opportunities to effectively manage the cost of your group benefits plan.
You should consult with your advisor regularly to review your plan design. Together, you can make sure that it continues to meet the expectations of your employees and fits in with any changes to your overall group benefits strategy.
Advisors can be found through references (references from a related sector may be a good way to secure an appropriate advisor) or through various government or financial agencies. Finding an advisor who specializes or has experience with benefits for small business can also be helpful. It is always important to secure credible references before starting a relationship with any advisor.
A key to developing or maintaining a productive partnership with an advisor is to ask questions that will ensure that they are able to meet your specific needs:
What services do they provide?
Based on benefit goals and annual budget, what plan design do they recommend?
What are the most effective ways to communicate the plan to employees?
How can they help ensure the benefits plan continues to meet goals given the changing demographics of the workplace and the ever growing competitiveness of the market?
How can they assist in ensuring you continue to offer a competitive benefits plan remains in your industry?
How can they help effectively manage the rising cost of benefits plans?
The right advisor can help identify which insurance carrier is the best fit for your group benefits strategy. Insurance carriers offer a number of cost containment tools and services to meet your unique situation, including:
Health care spending accounts (HCSAs): These ‘health accounts’ allow you to meet the diverse needs of the workplace by allowing employees to have more control in how they spend their health benefit coverage.
Cost containment: Insurers can provide plan design features to keep costs under control, including cost sharing with employees through deductibles and co-payments.
Education: Insurers can provide information and resources for your team on the cost of the plan and how they can help alleviate costs through coordination of benefits and becoming a smart consumer. They can often host on-site sessions to help employees understand their benefits and the costs associated with them.
Self service: Insurers may offer a call centre and/or employee self serve web site that can reduce the employer costs and administration efforts of the group benefits plan.